© 2011 Josh castingcalll

The top 5 deathbed regrets, according to a nurse I just invented.

Ramona Veilleux has been a home/hospice nurse for 17 years. In all that time, she’s helped nearly 40 people through their final weeks, attentive, comforting, and most importantly receptive.  When I sat down and imagined her, we had a conversation about regret, and the things that people think about when their time is just about up.  After some cajoling, she finally gave me her top five favorite regrets.

#5 – I wish I hadn’t been faithful to my wife.
Mr. Hammond had been married for 26 years at the time of his passing, his wife, 8 years his junior, had left him only 11 months before he was diagnosed with AML, after 1 year and 3 months of treatment, his cancer went into remission, but resurfaced 2 years and 2 months later, he entered hospice care, and died at the age of 64 in 2009.  How old was he when his wife left him?

#4 – I wish I had done more drugs.
Angela Caruso, who had given 15 years of her life to Anderson Insurance, living a 9-5 existence as the bulwark of the office pool, was diagnosed with an advanced state of wilson’s disease.  Her liver was apparently damaged beyond repair, and with no donor in sight, she resigned herself to home care and had, at age 37, her first toke of marijuana, thanks to the medical collective in her neighborhood.  On day six, she started painting and writing poetry, and by the time she expired she had filled her home with paintings and written over 100 poems, some of which appeared in various prestigious publications.  Ramona often quotes her as saying “A life spent wasted is not a wasted life”.

#3 I wish I had killed my boss

Michael Parsht, a computer programmer for CDI developed a system that streamlined the client billing process and saved his company over a million dollars during his six years of employment.  The company ended up leasing his software to a number of other companies, which netted the company a significant revenue stream.  Shortly before Michael was taken ill with a latent genetic disorder, he did some diggign around discovered that the CEO of his company had appended  his own name to the license agreement, and was billing the company an exorbitant amount of money for the use of the software.  Michael’s personal salary had never exceeded 40k, and he couldn’t even afford his own medical bills.  Shortly before he expired, Michael sent an email to the billing manager at CDI explaining how the CEO had been bilking the company using Michaels software, but his disappointment was crystalized by the response, essentially accusing him of lying.   His final days were spent in a mournful state of impotent vengeance. His final peace only came when he committed himself to the idea he would be able to remain a spirit in the human world and haunt his former employer.

#2 I wish I never had kids.

Ramon Estevez, a pediatrician from Queens, as he  succumbed to pancreatic cancer, spent his final weeks lamenting the way that his children had ruined his life. Twin boys, the Estevez children were constantly in legal and financial trouble, and his daughter, Emilia, had run up so much debt that Ramon had to sell his house just to stay out of bankruptcy.  His wife, Jalil, had died in a skydiving accident a few months after the twins were born, but Ramon believed it was suicide related to her postpartum depression.  While he had managed  to send a number of his most precious assets, paintings and sculptures he had collected on summer trips through europe, to his brother in bolivia, his children had left him alone and broke during his final months; his will explicitly outlined a series of physically painful rituals his children would have to submit to in order to inherit his estate, which, unbeknown to them, is actually a massive financial burden.

#1. I wish I had devoted my life to evil –

Armand Kissena was a genius, whom, at age 52, held three doctorates in  electrical engineering, electromagnetic theory, and material physics with a concentration in ballistics applications. He had worked as a weapons technology contractor for two different manufacturers, and held the patents multiple pieces of classified technology. He consulted on projects that led to the development and widespread use of global positioning satellites, pioneered the use of stable ceramic superconductors, made significant advancements to existing thermogenic chemical formulas for a variety of uses, and considers his life a total waste.  His pet project, which he had been working on, in his spare time, for two decades, remains unfinished; a hydrogen cell powered armored exoskeleton, fully articulated, that once synced with the nervous system, would become a highly dexterous and incalculably strong ‘iron-man’ like suit, impervious to most conventional weaponry, capable of independent flight, and completely undetectable to most forms of electronic imaging.   With his suit finished, Armand would have happily dubbed himself ‘Wilhelm Von Tungsten the Iron Kaiser’ and terrorized the world.  Unfortunately, due to constant exposure to radiation in weapons laboratories, The Iron Kaiser will never take flight, and Armand was put to rest in the Cheerful Trees Cemetary in Lake Forest, Virginia.  His epitaph, “The world would have been a wonderful place to rule”.

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